On the first day we were exploring Heidelberg, my two friends and I happened to stop in front of a pastry shop window. In the window display, sitting in neat little rows, there were these big round balls of dough smothered in all sorts of delicious looking toppings:

We were all left scratching our heads.

“What is this?!?” we all exclaimed. It was the only pastry in the entire store. It only sold this one pastry!

I’m not really sure why I decided not to buy one and try it. I may not have been hungry at the time, I don’t remember. But I definitely regret not trying it. It is the only thing I regret not doing on the trip!

My two friends immediately went into the store because they were curious and ended up buying one each. We didn’t know what the proper name was for it so somebody (not me) nicknamed the pastry “the Ball of Death.” It just looked like a gigantic ball of artery clogging goodness.

It seemed the English name for the pastry was a “snowball” if this printed explanation the store offered was any indication:

However I still wanted more information about this pastry so I turned to my good old friend Wikipedia to clarify what the hell this thing was.

And it turns out the German name, “schneeballen” literally translates to snowball in English. So it really is called a snowball.

The pastry originated in the area of the town Rothenburg ob der Tauber (that sure is a mouthful to say!), a town located in Bavaria that is famous for its preserved Old Town. I was actually familiar with the name of this town before coming to Germany because I had researched it for this trip. I didn’t make it this time around but I am still dying to go there–it just looks so adorable and unreal in pictures!

The schneeballen used to only be served for special occasions (such as weddings) but there are now several pastry shops in Rothenburg ob der Tauber that allow customers to enjoy the pastry year round. There were a couple of these stores in Heidelberg–still don’t know why I didn’t try it!

Most of the snowballs are covered with chocolate or nuts but it seems almost any kind of ingredient can be mixed in. The main ingredients are flour, butter, sugar, eggs, cream, and plum schnaps. I don’t really understand how the snowball’s shape is achieved–it looks like a ball of dough that has been folded over itself several times. The ball is then deep-fried in boiling fat and then the confectioner’s sugar is added last.

I forget what flavors my two friends bought. They both told me it was very good–but that it was impossible to eat the snowball in one sitting because there is just so much of it!

I jokingly told my friend Sarah on Facebook that we could maybe find a recipe and attempt to make it ourselves. I can’t imagine how they’d turn out but it can’t be that hard, right?

Have you ever heard of this pastry? Definitely one of the most unusual I’ve come across in awhile!